What Is an Executive Directive?

The Office of the Mayor comes with some impressive tools to deliver change in San Francisco. The highest form of authority granted by the San Francisco Charter to each mayor is the Executive Directive, like that issued by Mayor Ed Lee last month.

Executive Directives are reserved for urgent matters on which the Mayor identifies a need for immediate action by City agencies. In his six years in office, Mayor Lee’s sparing use of Executive Directives has addressed issues including housing, healthcare and gun safety.

Issued on Aug. 4, 2016 under the title “Achieving Vision Zero: Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety,” Executive Directive 16-03 sends a clear message that the state of biking in San Francisco must improve and that safe streets will be delivered with urgency.

That Executive Directive lays out 13 specific orders for five City agencies, including the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and SF Recreation and Parks Department. These orders are unprecedented, providing advocates for safe streets powerful new levers to hold the City accountable for improvements. And we’re already seeing results.

The SFPD announced the goal of dedicating half of all traffic citations to the five most dangerous traffic violations in January, 2014. At a Board of Supervisors’ committee hearing last week, the SFPD announced that August, 2016 was the first month in which the department met its Focus on the Five goal. This embrace of data-driven traffic enforcement is a crucial piece of the puzzle towards achieving Vision Zero resulting from Mayor Lee’s Executive Directive.

The SFMTA also used that hearing to share their progress on Executive Directive orders. They are moving ahead with proposals for physically-protected bike lanes in SoMa and the Tenderloin by accelerating near-term projects.

Much, much more is expected in the months ahead, as dictated by the Executive Directive. We could not have even arrived at this point without our members calling for deliberate action following the events of June 22. Now we need you to stand by us as we work to hold the City accountable for their promises.

Your membership makes it possible for people who bike to be heard at City Hall. Please give a gift membership to someone who bikes in our city today, and elevate all of our voices for enjoyable, safe streets for everyone.

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